Contracts in foxEnterprise
The Contracts module in foxEnterprise is used in many different ways by different clients. Some do not use it at all, rather they simply change the listing to SOLD and use a third party contract administration tool. At the other end of the spectrum, some clients use the Contracts module to produce and manage contracts in their entirety. Most clients fall into the middle ground where a third party tool (either in house or run by external solicitors) is used to produce and manage the contracts and foxEnterprise is used to track contract status, record key details and manage the many activities required to progress the contact through to handover.
As every client's contracts, conditions and the business processes surrounding them are entirely unique, the contracts module is designed in such a way that it can accommodate almost any requirement, it is simply a matter of understanding what you are trying to achieve and what the software can do and massaging everything to make it work for you.
The Basics of Contract Administration in foxEnterprise
- The status bar (blue arrow) enables you to track and change the contract status
- The various tabs within a Contract (General, Contacts, Timeline etc) are where you can enter data.
- The Mail Merge function enables you to produce physical or electronic documents from the contract data
- The Documents button enables you to attach all relevant documents (ID's, signed forms, copies of physical contracts, receipts)
- The Account button enables you to track financial transactions relating to the contract
- The Handover File buttons enables you to plan and monitor all activities relating the the contract.
- The workflow Manager can also be used to setup a large range of automated emails and activities based on various contract related events
The next section steps you through the basic fundamentals from a-z which you can then build on as required to suit your needs.
Example of Contract flow through to Settlement
The following is the most basic generic example of a contract moving from Available through to Settled. You can reproduce this simply by creating a dummy listing, clicking it's Contract button and then clicking the blue arrow through each stage towards Settled. To rescind and re-test, simply move the arrow back to Available again.
Note: Every listing has a contract file. Those which have no contract yet will simply have the Contract Status of Available. You can choose to "hide" all the superfluous Available contracts by going to Tools > System Administration > System Settings, choosing the Contracts tab and checking "Disable Access to Available Contracts via Contract Screen"
1. Open the listing you wish to put under contract
2. On the Summary tab set the Listing Stage to Under Contact to indicate to all others that this listing is not available for sale and auto remove it from websites & portals (if you are using these features)
3. Click the Contract button to open the contract file for this listing
4. Move the contract status arrow to On Hold. If no deposit has yet been taken yet, On Hold can be used to make the contract "Unavailable". Try clicking Save. The system will advise you that you must supply a Release Date (on the Timeline tab).
5. Move the contract status arrow to EOI. Try clicking Save. The system will advise you that you must supply a Release Date (if you did not already supply this at On Hold) and a Purchaser (on the Contacts tab).
6. Move the contract status arrow to Contract Issued. Try clicking Save. The system will advise you that you must supply a Selling Agent (on the General tab > Contracts Team).
7. Try to move the contract status arrow to Cooling Off Period. The system will advise you that the contract must be sent to purchaser. Check the Contract Sent to Purchaser date (on the Timeline tab). The system will now advise you that the contract must be sent to vendor. Check the Contract Sent to Vendor date (on the Timeline tab). We have now recorded that the contracts are exchanged and you can move the status arrow to Cooling Off Period.
8. Move the contract status arrow to Conditional. Any conditions can be set on the Conditions tab. Click Save
9. Move the contract status arrow to Unconditional. Click Save
10. Move the contract status arrow to Settled. Click Save. The system will advise you that you must supply a Settlement Date (on the Timeline tab).
11. The Settlement Wizard will now appear to help you update various details such as the Sold Pricing Display Format, the Sold Date, the vendors details (only relevant for resale) and purchasers details.
Changes to Contract Status
You do not have to go through each and every contract status. You can jump straight from Available to Contract Issued for example, however to do so, you must provide all the required details to enable you to save the contract with the chosen status.
Reversing contract status
It is possible most circumstances to reverse a contract status change. This comes down to the changes that were applied and the status you are now in.
Note that you cannot reverse from Settled, the only option once Settled is to rescind the contract. You also cannot reverse from On Hold as this is this is actually rescinding the contract.
To reverse a status change, go to Tools > Contract Status Change.
Rescinding a Contract
The blue arrow which displays the Contract Status is also used to change the status, by clicking on the new status you wish to move the contract to. Normally this is in the direction of Settled, however to rescind, the same applies. Simply click on the Available status and follow the steps.
Note that you can define Fallover Reasons by going to Tools > System Administration > Fallover Reasons Admin.
Applying Activity Plans to Contracts
foxEnterprise has both Contract Activity Groups/Plans and Handover File activity plans. To create a Contract Activity Plan go to the Admin module and select the Activities tab. Next to Activity Groups, select Add:
Choose Contract for Relates to in order to make this available as a Contract Activity Plan within your contracts:
After you have built the plan, you can apply it by selecting the required contracts in the grid, right clicking and choosing "Apply Contract Activity Group/Plan" - You cannot do this while logged in as the Admin.
The individual activities for each contract can now be tracked and completed from the Activities tab within the contract.
Configuring Handover Files
To enable handover files, go to Tools > System Administration > System Settings, choose the Contracts tab and check "Enable Handover File for Contracts". Once enabled, you will see a Handover File button at the bottom of every contract:
You will also see tabs for Handover File Search and Handover File Advanced Search in the Contract grid:
Handover file activities are defined by going to Tools > System Administration > Handover File Task Subjects Admin
Once created, these activities can be added to Handover File Activity Groups and displayed as columns in the Handover File Search grids.
To create a Handover File Activity Group, go to the Admin module and select the Activities tab. Next to Activity Groups, select Add:
When adding each activity, the Subject list will allow you to choose from the Handover File activities you defined in Tools > System Administration > Handover File Task Subjects Admin. The Scheduling will enable you to setup when each task is due: Unscheduled, Immediately after previous, or at a later time.
When you have added all your activities, the Activity Group will resemble the following. Note that Relates to must be set to Handover File to make this available as a Handover File within your contracts:
After you have built the plan, you can apply it by selecting the required contracts in the grid, right clicking and choosing "Apply Handover Activity Group/Plan" - You cannot do this while logged in as the Admin.
The individual activities for each Handover File can now be tracked and completed by opening the Contract, clicking on the Handover File button and choosing the Activity tab.